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Radical Contextualism and the Science of Meaning

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 RContext project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the RContext project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "RContext" about.

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Project "RContext" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: SPUI 21
postcode: 1012WX

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Project website
 Total cost 177˙598 €
 EC max contribution 177˙598 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2014
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-CAR
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-09-01   to  2017-12-16


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The project investigates the impact that ‘radical contextualism’ (RC) has upon certain foundational issues in the philosophy of language, formal semantics, and philosophy of science. What motivates RC is the idea that our interpretation of a word, and what we refer to by using it, might be very different on different occasions of use. This suggests that our ability to interpret words, or to understand what they mean, depends in part on our being familiar with certain features of the occasions on which words are actually put to use. However, since communicative occasions are not systematically tractable, this seems to render systematic theories of meaning impossible. My chief objective is to think of a way out of this difficulty whilst taking the intuition behind RC seriously.

The key proposal I aim to develop and defend is that RC does not militate against the possibility of constructing theories of meaning, as is commonly assumed. Instead, what RC does challenge are the ontological commitments typically inherited by such theories; e.g. commitment to the existence of objects that are supposed to play the role of stable semantic values of open-class linguistic expressions. My novel response to the challenge from RC will be to propose two ontologically neutral metasemantic frameworks: dynamic content externalism and methodological internalism. I shall assess main hypotheses on the case of natural kind terms.

The project is interdisciplinary, combining insights and techniques from philosophy and formal semantics. I have a background in philosophy of language but I have no training in formal semantics or theoretical linguistics. Hence, this project, supervised by Prof. Martin Stokhof (ILLC) who specialises in dynamic semantics, represents a remarkable opportunity for me to acquire new formal skills, which will not only be necessary for carrying out the proposed research, but also very important for my future career development.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Tamara Dobler
The Occasion-Sensitivity of Thought
published pages: , ISSN: 0167-7411, DOI: 10.1007/s11245-017-9532-2
Topoi 2019-06-13

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The information about "RCONTEXT" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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